Just bought vineyards in France ? Just a minute…. PART 2 – The terms “Château”, “Domaine” etc.

Last time, we saw that the French administration can be very tricky and that the differences between regulations can be huge. (Part1)

A perfect example illustrates the complexity of the French administrative net: the possibility to use the word “Château”, on the labels.

To start, the word « château » on a label means an AOC wine from a truly existing operating and featuring a crop autonomy.

It is therefore necessary to have a real vineyard (and not a simple wine trading company for example) and that this property has vineyards and appropriate wine production buildings, with the winemaking equipment for processing, separately, the harvest.

A French Decree of 7 January 1993 implemented the rule “One Estate = One name of Château”. This obviously means that the producer can only use the term « Château » once.

The European regulation does not come in handy since it has established a list of terms considered as equivalent to the term “Château”: the words “Domaine”, “Clos”, “Moulin”, “Abbaye” etc (17 terms in total).

Consequently, specified exceptions aside, should not have one product named “Château Something” and another one named “Domaine something”.

However, one can use as many brands as you wish as long as they do not contain the term « château » or an equivalent term (« Domaine », « Clos » etc.)

An alternative can be to keep only one name of château, but to decline it with of the names of cuvées. The name of the Château would be a kind of “Umbrella brand”.

 

Jean-Baptiste THIAL de BORDENAVE, Head of Lexwine (@LEXWINE_IP)

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